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Virtual Museum Tours Offer A Taste Of Culture In A Time Of Quarantine

Coronavirus has caused millions worldwide to quarantine themselves, and thousands of different industries to adjust to the way they’re running their businesses in order to prevent the further spread of this novel virus. One of the most recent and significant changes the world has seen is the closing of hundreds of cultural attractions such as all Broadway productions, Disneyland, and multiple museums. While you’re on your leave from work and waiting for the world to figure out how to further stop this virus, there’s a multitude of things you can do to entertain yourself from home. 

If you’re one of the millions of individuals who had plans to visit any of these cultural landmarks within the coming months and are now disappointed that you had to postpone, have no fear, as many museums worldwide have begun, or are continuing to, offer free virtual tours through their establishments via their website for your viewing pleasure until you can safely visit them again. Here’s a list of just a few options of places you can “travel” to through your computer screen:

The British Museum in London is located in the heart of the city and holds some of the most famous mummy remains in Europe. Their virtual tour allows users online to travel through the archives and explore the historical contexts behind some of the more predominantly known pieces. 

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The Guggenheim Museum in New York is known for its iconic spiral staircase architecture and multitude of art pieces from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras. Google’s Street View lets visitors walk the staircase online and stand in front of any piece from any era that they please, all from their couch. 

Google in general is the main reason all of these virtual tours are possible. Their Arts and Culture department recently partnered with over 500 museums and galleries worldwide to deliver virtual tours that make users feel like their standing in the museums themselves. This effort was already in motion before the corona pandemic, however, now more than ever Google is emphasizing their newest feature that delivers just a taste of the culture all of these establishments have to offer. 

The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. has two major online exhibits that show off two very specific art periods. The first is an exhibit exploring how American fashion evolved between the years of 1740 and 1895. It’s focus is on the textiles used and how gendered style developed from the colonial to Revolutionary eras of history. The second focuses on a series of Baroque paintings from famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. 

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The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea gives New York City’s MoMA a true run for its money. While the museum itself obviously emphasizes more modern works to come from Korean artists, the virtual tour seamlessly incorporates historical contexts to past art influences for the more modern exhibits. 

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has quickly become one of the most popular museums on the planet. The virtual tour explores not only the many works done by Van Gogh, but also takes users through the tragedy and genius that was Van Gogh’s inner workings. The museum itself holds the largest collection of work done by the artist, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings/sketches, and over 750 personal letters. 

These examples only scratch the surface of other tours and exhibits Google has given the public access too. The ability to travel across the world to one of the most famous museums all with the click of a button is truly the definition of living in the future. So explore some of the 500+ museum and gallery options today, and go where you’ve never gone before.

Statue of Liberty

Underrated Things To Do In New York City

New York City is known as the “city that never sleeps”, and as a native myself I can confirm that this holds true. With five large borough’s, over 8 million residents, and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, NYC is truly one of the most magnificent and diverse places in the U.S., maybe even the world. 

If you’re not a native, are planning on visiting, have visited but was overwhelmed by the thousands of things to do, or just are in the mood to explore a new city and New York has always been on your list, than it’s important to look into some of the amazing attractions that NYC has to offer. A lot of the typical tourism spots in New York do hold true to the photos online, however, they really aren’t the star of the show. NYC is HUGE and there’s an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to what to do when you find yourself exploring this concrete jungle. 

Central Park is the most popular park in NYC, and rightfully so, if you’ve ever seen an aerial shot of the city, it’s absolutely magnificent how contained this massive plot of nature remains in an otherwise industrial landscape. However, there are plenty of other beautiful parks in New York that don’t get as much attention, but truly deserve to. Bryant Park is an obvious runner up, as it has an endless amount of eateries surrounding the perimeter, and plenty of seating to enjoy the views on a nice day. In the winter, the park also has ice skating and the occasional concert in the park (concerts occur throughout the entire year it just depends on the day). 

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The Met

If you want to go the more historical and artsy route, NYC has one of the widest selections of museums that one could dream of. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most magnificent museums in the country. The MET holds a myriad of artwork extending from the dawn of man, to modern examples of pop art by Andy Warhol himself. The vast size of the amount of artwork the MET has curated throughout the years is astounding, and a majority of it is on display. The best part? Entry is only $25, and for the amount to be seen within the museum, it’s definitely worth it. 

Other notable and exciting museums that one should visit in the city include; The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Sex, The Museum of Ice Cream, The Guggenheim, and plenty more

Some more underrated attractions that one may not initially think of when planning their trip to New York City includes taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry! Many don’t realize that the ferry itself travels on a route that allows passengers to see Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty (without the overwhelming tourist energy), and lower Manhattan! 

Brooklyn itself has truly built up a representation as being flooded with hipsters and artisanal cheeses, however, the art and culture that’s circulating throughout these boroughs streets is truly astounding. Brooklyn Flea is the epicenter of all of it. Filled with up-cycled clothing stores, unique cafes and an endless amount of artwork, you can’t go wrong with a day of hipster magic and good food. 

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The West Village

The West Village is another beautiful little piece of NYC that deserves to be explored. In fact you could spend a whole day just walking around the village and you’ll definitely find plenty to do without all the noise and congestion that one would find in Times Square. Something unique to the West Village as well is their Midnight Movies at the IFC Center. IFC often roles through a whole slew of titles for their late night movie showings; including classics such as Jurassic Park and The Shining. 

Chinatown is to New York City as peanut butter is to jelly, however, if you’re looking for the greatest Chinatown/NYC experience, no other beats that of Flushing’s Chinatown. This location specifically stands out because of all the amazing food and restaurants that are bustling throughout the streets. Even more so, they have the New World Mall Food Court, a must see in terms of NYC eating. 

Finally, The Bronx. No, nothing in particular, but the Bronx in general is one of the most underrated boroughs throughout NYC and it’s no thanks to a lot of ignorant representation in the media. The Bronx has way more to offer than just the zoo as well. Home of the Yankee’s, the NYC Botanical Gardens, and several Victorian mansions, the Bronx has become a cultural hub for the history of the city, and has plenty to offer in terms of things to do. 

There’s a billion possibilities when it comes to exploring New York City. The key is figuring out what specific kind of experience you want to get out of it. Once you figure that out, there’s plenty of online resources to connect you to the perfect attraction to get the most out of your time in NYC.

Museum Paintings

Museum Of Modern Art Gets A Total Makeover

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is the countries most visited modern art museum, but for the last four months, art lovers and experts alike had to put their contemporary art desires aside while the MoMA underwent an extensive renovation and expansion. According to CBS News, the museum is anticipated to re-open on October 21st, which has been the set date since the beginning, so the huge project has been moving smoothly and right on schedule. The entire renovation is set to cost $450 million when all is said and done; that price will cover the cost of an entire new wing in the museum, expanding the current gallery space by 30%! Glenn Lowry, MoMA’s director projects that the museum will be able to hold almost one thousand pieces of additional art with the new space. 

“For me, what’s so exciting is that there were two museums when I arrived here 25 years ago. There was the museum that was on display, and there was the museum that was in storage. And they were unrelated. And now what we’ve done is bring those two museums together, so the museum on display much better reflects that museum that was in storage,” said Lowry to CBS

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Lowry also went on to explain the purpose behind the massive renovation that left the museum with months of no business. Previously, the MoMA was built up of individual departments, according to Lowry. Those departments were mainly representative of different art mediums, artists, and time periods. Each department had its own individual section, making each one disconnected from the other. While logically it seems to make sense that you would organize every room in a museum to contain one specific department, it ended up becoming very restrictive to how many pieces of one specific type of art they could have on display at a time; hence, Lowry’s “two museum” explanation. 

Now, architect Liz Giller and her team at Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked tirelessly to open up the museum and expand it to reach its full potential for displaying modern art. She wanted to open up the general entry space and make the entire museum seem more inviting. In addition, she moved the gift shop down a level, also in an effort to open up the general entry space of the museum. 

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“This will be just full of natural light coming in, and the store is actually bigger. So, even though it’s below the ground, it takes advantage of all this natural light – we have this fantastic visibility between the street and the lobby. Attention was paid to every detail, even the stairwell,” she said

The intensive process also involved a complete reorganization of the gallery space, which included the cleaning and refurbishing of a lot of longtime MoMA displays that needed some sprucing up. The renovation isn’t just to give the museum an updated look, but to re-brand the entire Modern Art experience. CBS reports that the museum will now contain five times the amount of pieces made by female artists, and the space will be updating the artwork held in the museum much more frequently. Specifically, every six months a third of the current art collections hanging in the museum will be swapped for new ones, or ones that haven’t been on display in a while. While the museum will have to close again during these transitional periods, and it adds a lot more work to all the staff, it’s all a part of the “New MoMA” project and experience, to keep them at the top of their game, and keep frequent art aficionados interested.

Selfie

Vienna Opens “Made For Instagram” Selfie Museum

Museums have been a hub of culture ever since world history originated. They give us a special insight into certain aspects of the past, humanity, and events that shape different areas of the world. The MET in New York City is the home to thousands of years worth of art and architecture from all across the globe, while the more specific Museum of Modern Art showcases one era of artistic expression and its evolution throughout time. 

Throughout the past decade museums have seen a decline in foot traffic. This is partially due to the fact that the “museum experience” has turned into more of a social affair than a cultural one. Most people go to museums just to say that they did and so they can post pictures of themselves next to trendy or interesting artifacts/art. In a study done by Artsy Online Magazine, it was found that 37% of individuals who go to museums don’t view it as a “cultural experience”. Younger generations have redefined their meaning of culture to become a part of everyday life. Street and performance art, food and drink experiences, any going out activity that humans take part in, that’s what is becoming the growing definition of modern culture. Although culture as a word is getting a bit of a face-lift, it doesn’t discount the years and years of valuable pieces that are displayed in the museums of the world and their impact on history. 

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This new market for culture has sparked a new type of museum experience to grow throughout the world. Today, it’s all about impact, and the best way to make an impact is to go viral online, so more museums that contain trendy, modern, and visually stimulating exhibits are beginning to appear. The Museum of Sex in New York City has hundreds of displays of Victorian sex toys, interactive sensory experiences, and even a bouncy house room full of inflatable breasts that you and a friend can bounce on and post online. The Museum of Ice Cream originated in San Francisco and is known for its vastly colorful and interactive exhibits, all topped off with a pool of sprinkles. Are you sensing a pattern? The main idea behind museums such as these is to be the most social media friendly. What’s more Instagram worthy than a picture of you in your sweetest outfit (pun intended) chilling in a pool full of rainbow sprinkles? 

These museums appeal to a younger audience, and therefore become trends on social media, and the business just booms. The Museum of Ice Cream as a business is now worth over $200 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Vienna has taken all of this into account and has opened a new museum that was created with the sole purpose of being Instagrammed. So much so that the name of the museum is the “nofilter_museum”, meant to resemble an Instagram username. 

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According to BBC News, the museum is built with 24 interactive rooms all equipped with multiple backgrounds and exhibits perfect for anyone’s Instagram feed. The official website adds that “there are also ball pits, floral walls and glitter confetti, designed for creative selfies. There is even a room filled with fake food such as cupcakes and macaroons.” The museum has already sparked the interests of many online influencers who want to go to the museum for their next viral post. A museum built around the idea that it’s basically just one giant backdrop for photographs, is the new wave of business geared towards an influencer market. BBC projects the museum will get anywhere from 300-500 visitors a day. 

“I think it’s the future of museums, the main point is that it’s not only about selfies, but also about having a good time, being able to interact while experiencing art. I do think that people spend a lot of time on their phones and that’s why we try to combine that with something real and something fun. But I don’t think it is our responsibility to educate them,” says Petra Scharinger, co-creator of nofilter_museum to BBC.

Targeting that specific market is one of the smartest business decisions any company can make in 2019. Influencers get business based on the fact that their social media accounts have hundreds of thousands of followers. Those followers are basically an audience and their posts act as the entertainment, advertisements included. Companies contact these individuals to show off their product on their feed to reach that large following. Museums have seen this and want the same level of advertising. Thus, the Instagram museum was born.